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Second Cancers After Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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Cancer survivors can be affected by a number of health problems, but often their greatest concern is facing cancer again. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is seldom cured, but it can often be treated and controlled for a long time. During this time, some people with CLL may develop a new, unrelated cancer later. This is called a second cancer.

Unfortunately, being treated for cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another cancer. People who have had cancer can still get the same types of cancers that other people get. In fact, certain types of cancer and cancer treatments can be linked to a higher risk of certain second cancers.

People with CLL can get any type of second cancer, but they have an increased risk of:

People with CLL need to see their doctors regularly. Let your doctor know if you have any new symptoms or problems. These may be from the CLL, or they may be from some other cancer or disease. Also be sure to get your routine cancer screening tests and well check-ups. These can help find problems early, when they're usually easier to treat.

All people with CLL should avoid tobacco smoke, as smoking increases the risk of many cancers and might further increase the risk of some of the second cancers seen in patients with CLL.

See Second Cancers in Adults for more information about causes of second cancers.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Benjamini O, Jain P, Trinh L, et al. Second cancers in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who received frontline fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab therapy: distribution and clinical outcomes. Leuk Lymphoma. 2015;56(6):1643-1650.

Bernués M, Durán MA, Puget G, et al. Genetics of lymphocytes influences the emergence of second cancer in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Anticancer Res. 2014;34(5):2311-2314.

Chaabouni H, Kacem K, Zriba S, et al. Solid tumors after chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients: Report of six cases and review of the literature. Gulf J Oncolog. 2015;1(19):28-32.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: Disease Complications. Accessed at on April 18, 2018.

National Cancer Institute. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. February 7, 2018. Accessed at on April 18, 2018.

Last Revised: May 10, 2018

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